Page 1 of 5 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 47

Thread: Beginner's guide to developing 4x5" sheets

  1. #1
    Lucian Marin
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Bucharest, Romania
    Posts
    29

    Beginner's guide to developing 4x5" sheets

    Hi all.
    I am interested in doing my own b/w processing, however would need your advice before buying some stuff and doing my first tests.

    While searching the forum i get the most popular methods are either by using the Combiplan, or straight tray developing which seems to be the simplest and cheapest method.

    Now, what's not very clear:
    1. how many trays will i need? im thinking about this 3 pieces set (for developer, fixer and water). is that enough for basic development?
    2. what other accesories should i be looking for? (clips?)
    3. should i do agitation by hand or using a film clip of some sort?
    4. any cheap and practical ways of drying the sheets?
    5. are the chemicals dangerous? some people seem to use hand gloves and face masks while developing. is that what you do?

    Or, should i think again about the Combiplan?

    Hopefully there will be people pacient enough to share their experience.

    Thanks!

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    473

    Re: Beginner's guide to developing 4x5" sheets

    I'm fairly new to B&W processing myself but I'll take a stab at answering your questions anyway. I use a Combiplan tank for 4x5 film and trays for 8x10.

    1. I use four trays - developer, stop bath, fixer, water rinse.
    2. A thermometer, a timer or stop watch, clips.
    3. By hand.
    4. I hang the film on a piece of string over the bathtub to dry. This is what the clips are for.
    5. It depends. Some chemicals are more toxic than others. Download and read the Material Safety Data Sheets for your chosen chemicals.
    Never is always wrong; always is never right.

    www.LostManPhoto.com
    www.MarkStahlkePhotography.com

  3. #3
    Format Omnivore Brian C. Miller's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 1999
    Location
    Everett, WA
    Posts
    2,961

    Re: Beginner's guide to developing 4x5" sheets

    Hi, Lucian!

    First, normal chemicals for developing black & white film are quite safe. Just don't drink them! The reason that some of us may wear gloves and masks is because alternative methods use chemicals which are not safe. Any normal film developer from Kodak or Ilford is safe to handle without protection.

    Whether you use trays or Combiplan tank depends on your personal situation. Do you have a room that you can make light-tight? I use my bathroom, which took a little bit of reversible modification. If you don't have a light-tight room for tray development, then you'll need to use a changing bag and load the film into a tank like the Combiplan.

    Film clips for roll film (35mm or 60mm) don't work well with LF sheet film. You can use "alligator" clips (for electrical connections) for hanging the film for drying. Just hang the film up where there is no airflow, so no dust will blow around and settle on the film.

    For agitation in a tray, just rock the tray back and forth a bit. The important part is keeping the film submerged under the chemicals. I made a little holder to assist with this.

    The chemicals used are the developer, stop bath (acetic acid, part of vinegar), and fixer. The stop bath and fixer tend to be a bit smelly, so ventilation is a good thing. I use a stop bath and fixer which are formulated to be essentially odor-free, made by Clayton.

    Don't be afraid to make mistakes, and remember to have fun!

  4. #4
    jp's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    4,520

    Re: Beginner's guide to developing 4x5" sheets

    So far I have done trays and combiplan. I get kinda bored with trays as it is very simple tedious and you have to stay in the dark most of the time (until it's been in the fixer 2 minutes by my estimation). I still use trays for 8x10 as there aren't so many options for that. A jobo could do it, but it would probably be more work to setup and clean it afterwards than the time wasted standing in the dark tending to 8x10 in a tray.

    You would need a glow in the dark timer/watch/kitchen timer and an accurate thermometer. The combiplan gets some critique for being slow to drain/fill and for minor dripping when agitating, but the critique is overblown. It does a very consistent job at processing 4x5 film when used consistently. And it lets me work in daylight except for loading.

    If you go the tray route, get a bigger 4th tray for the rinse. That's where things spend the most time, so negatives and prints can accumulate there as you work.

    I ordered 130410001589 from ebay and we'll see how that goes too. It might be a reasonable alternative to the combiplan.

    I have an insulated wire string and use wooden springloaded clothespins to hang negatives and prints up to dry.



    I have used photoflo as the last step but have also recently had excellent results using a 1 minute distilled water bath in a clean tray to prevent drying spots. It costs a few cents more per use, but it is working great.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    2,590

    Re: Beginner's guide to developing 4x5" sheets

    Ive posted this before so sorry about the dupe but here is a very simple solution to tray development of 4x5 negs. Just take a regular film holder (in this case the ones that hold 4 sheets of 4x5 negs) bend it so it fits and lays flat into an 8x10 tray. You can use the bent part as a handle to agitate and to move the holder from tray to tray.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails tray.jpg  

  6. #6
    Format Omnivore Brian C. Miller's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 1999
    Location
    Everett, WA
    Posts
    2,961

    Re: Beginner's guide to developing 4x5" sheets

    Oh, here's something somebody else did for a cheap darkroom timer: an audio recording! The fellow took a tape recorder, and recorded himself counting off minutes and seconds. Then in the dark he could simply play the tape for his development timing.

    (my timer has a beep mode)

  7. #7
    Lucian Marin
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Bucharest, Romania
    Posts
    29

    Re: Beginner's guide to developing 4x5" sheets

    Thank you guys your replies are really helpful. I think im gonna buy some cheap chemicals first to give it a go. Is the stop bath mandatory for basic development, or i can do without? I think i read somewhere that this stage is optional.

    I will be using cheap Fomapan 100 sheets and Foma chemicals.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Southlake TX
    Posts
    1,056

    Re: Beginner's guide to developing 4x5" sheets

    Quote Originally Posted by lmlmlm View Post
    1. how many trays will i need? im thinking about this 3 pieces set (for developer, fixer and water). is that enough for basic development?
    !

    One way to do it is doubling up on the water trays use.

    Note that this only works with an alkaline fixer

    I use 3 trays

    developer - water - alkaline fixer


    Soak in the center water tray

    move film to developer tray for the appropriate time

    move back to water to stop (well slow down anyway)

    then to fixer tray for the perscribed time

    near end of fixer step, flip on lights

    dump water tray and refill which the fixed negative go into with slow running water

    same water tray used 3 times.

    bob

  9. #9

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    2,590

    Re: Beginner's guide to developing 4x5" sheets

    Quote Originally Posted by lmlmlm View Post
    Thank you guys your replies are really helpful. I think im gonna buy some cheap chemicals first to give it a go. Is the stop bath mandatory for basic development, or i can do without? I think i read somewhere that this stage is optional.

    I will be using cheap Fomapan 100 sheets and Foma chemicals.
    All stop bath is, is a mild acidic solution. Its function is to stop development by changing the pH and also to rinse off developer to prevent carry-over of developer into the fixer which leads to the early exhaustion of the fixer. I have used plain white vinegar mixed with water (1:6) as a stop bath for years. Nothing more is necessary for a stop bath.

    As far as timers are concerned, buy a cheap "talking" timer that counts down the minutes and the last 60 seconds.
    I use one of these: http://www.amazon.com/Tel-Timer-Talk.../dp/B002VSZP18

    (Oh, and you can indeed turn on the light when you place the negs in the fixer for about 1 minute or so, as long as they were placed in the stop bath first. Most people wait a minute before turning on the light once the negs are in the fixer, just to be safe, but in reality there's no more development going on once the negs come out of the stop bath.)

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Brackettville, TX
    Posts
    6

    Re: Beginner's guide to developing 4x5" sheets

    Issues with the CombiPlan's being slow to fill can be mitigated by draining it inverted, i.e., instead of draining it from the "drain" hole at the bottom, drain it from the "fill" hole at the top, using the "drain" hole as a vent. That technique equalizes the time the "top" of the sheets are in contact with the developer compared to the "bottom."

    The CombiPlan tank makes an excellent film rinser, too.

Similar Threads

  1. Developing 8x10 sheet film in JOBO CPE processor?
    By Emil Ems in forum Darkroom: Film, Processing & Printing
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 29-May-2010, 17:56
  2. LF materials strategic reserve?
    By John Kasaian in forum Darkroom: Film, Processing & Printing
    Replies: 37
    Last Post: 17-Feb-2007, 10:37
  3. A Workshop with Per Volquartz in Vancouver, BC...
    By Capocheny in forum Groups & Meetings
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 10-Sep-2006, 17:44
  4. T-Max 400 8x10 demise?
    By Rich in forum Darkroom: Film, Processing & Printing
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 31-Aug-2001, 14:45
  5. Problem developing 4x5 sheets in Jobo processor
    By Tom Hieb in forum Darkroom: Film, Processing & Printing
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 31-Jul-1998, 18:42

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •